Employers Encourage Price Shopping with Rebates
October 20, 2011 in Member Stories
This Blues CT and NH pilot program is interesting in a couple of ways. Health reform uses the concept of “shared savings” (aka ACOs) as one of the foundations of cost containment in health reform to return part of the money to doctors that make cost-saving decisions. In this case the shared savings return money directly to the patient. Localvores rejoice: medical tourism in a nearby zipcode.
Another interesting aspect has to do with patient access to health records. Although not mentioned in the article, this pilot program implicitly sticks to incentives on procedures (ACL repair by arthroscopy, cataract removal, colonoscopy, computerized tomography or CT scans, hysterectomy, knee arthroscopy, mammogram, MRIs, sinus surgery, and upper GI endoscopy) that more-or-less stand alone. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, access to the results caused my PCP to suggest I stay inside the Partners system for a 5-minute procedure that ended up costing me over $800 out of pocket.
Lack of immediate access to your complete health record for _any_ physician you choose is one of the major ways prices and quality are out of line in our system. The technology is easy and has been used by 430,000 patients at veterans hospitals this year. Why can’t we hold our physicians, insurers and politicians accountable for lack of immediate online access to our records by the doctors of our choice?